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Application for CR17 documents not made in an open court – EFF

FILE PICTURE: SIBONELO NGCOBO/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

FILE PICTURE: SIBONELO NGCOBO/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

Published Mar 16, 2021

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Pretoria – Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC presidential campaign was not a private and confidential matter, as it led to him becoming the leader of the country, the EFF argued in the North Gauteng High Court today.

The EFF lodged the attack after CR17 campaign manager Benjamin Chauke submitted an affidavit in which he stated the donations were a private matter of the ANC and those who campaigned for Ramaphosa to become ANC president and leader of the country.

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However, in its application in the North Gauteng High Court to lift the ban, the EFF, through its counsel, advocate Ishmael Semenya SC, argued that Ramaphosa campaigned for the ANC top leadership position knowing he would ultimately become leader of government.

Semenya argued that the EFF, as a registered political party, has the rights, in terms of section 19 (1) ( c) of the Constitution, to ask that the documents must be unsealed for the public to access them.

“One of the reasons is that an amount of R500 000 was made to the CR17 by one such Gavin Watson. We all know what notoriety the name has.

’’It is related to Bosasa. This triggered former DA leader Mmusi Maimane to ask a question to Ramaphosa about this donation,” Semenya said.

He said the EFF wants the identity of the donors to be revealed and to find if any of them had benefited from government contracts. Semenya said the application for the sealing of the document was not made in an open court.

“The application was made in the chambers of Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba to seal the banking details of CR17 donors. The Deputy Judge President then made a ruling that any party which wants access to the documents must make a formal application to court.

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“The continued sealing of the documents – which, as an aide, we note are already in the public domain – is inimical to the constitutional principles of transparency and accountability,” Semenya said.

He further argued that holding politicians, especially those in government, accountable for who they get money from, and who they pay that money to, was crucial in ensuring that politicians and the wider political establishment remain transparent, open and accountable.

“After all, politicians do not hold power for themselves. They hold and exercise power on behalf of our collective interests,” the EFF argued.

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Semenya quoted a paragraph from the My Vote Counts Constitutional Court judgment, which required political parties to disclose their funders: ’’Secrecy enables corruption and conduces more to a disposition by politicians that is favourable towards those who funded them privately once elected into public office.

’’This is likely to flourish even where information on private funding is 'held' at the discretion of the funded and unlikely to be exposed to the light of publicity.’’

The EFF also slammed the participation of the Financial Intelligence Centre in the court proceedings.

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Ramaphosa has not opposed the application, but the CR17 committee and Financial Intelligence Centre have argued the statements should remain sealed in order to protect the privacy of the donors.

The court application continues.

Political Bureau

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